Skip to main content

Russia practices for an Iceland invasion

a MTLB landing from the landing ship Severomorsk to Kotelny

The Russian Northern Fleet has been very active lately, in addition to the usual landing drills close to the fleets home ports in the Kola peninsula, the fleet has been roaming the Russian northern coast with a landing squadron that carries a mix of marines and Arctic brigade specialists from the Alakurtti military base.

This unit has now made a landing drill at the remote island of Kotelny that sits between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. The squadrons last supply point, where the crews and troops were allowed to rest and refit was in Dudinka. The distance from Dudinka to Kotelny is roughly 2000 km. This distance corresponds closely to the distance between the fleets home base in Kola and Iceland. The geography and the size of the islands are also very similar.

From Dudinka to the Kotelny

It is very important to test these kind of long distance naval operations in advance as the troops and the vehicles on board, must remain combat worthy all the way to the target. And the seas up north can be extremely demanding.

Iceland is one of the few nations in the world without an army. Iceland only has an approximately 200 men strong coast guard and a 230 men strong force for peacekeeping purposes. Due to the extremely strategic location of the island nation, USA has been guaranteeing its freedom and Iceland is a NATO member. Other NATO members and even some neutral countries like Finland have lent aircraft's and personnel to help police the Icelandic airspace.

OPV Thor, the biggest vessel of the Iceland Coast Guard

Without an effective navy Iceland isn’t equipped to stop a Russian landing force and without an army it has no change to repel an amphibious landing by the Russian marines. A dug in Marine brigade with support from the Arctic brigade and it’s modern anti-aircraft missile units a Russian foothold in the island would be a real challenge to the NATO forces available.


As we can see the Cold War hot-spots haven’t all vanished. The GIUK gap from Greenland via Iceland to United Kingdom is still included in the Russian military training curriculum. NATO has also been sending more and more vessels and aircraft to patrol the northern waters.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick guide to identifying the Russian tanks Part 1: main platforms and T-72 variants

As most of the western nations have reduced their inventories to a few or mostly one type of main battle tank model in their active inventories, the myriad of tank platforms and distinct versions employed by the Russian armed forces may feel overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to identifying Russian MBTs. When you come across an image (or the actual thing), follow the steps to identify it properly.



Family of the tankRussian Armed Forces currently operates, or at least storage, the following tank platforms/families: -T-55 (<2000 in storage) -T-62 (2000 in storage) -T-64 (2000 in storage) -T-72 (2000 active duty, 8000 in storage) -T-80 (2000 active duty, 5000 in storage) -T-90 (350 active duty, 600 in storage) -T-14 (20 in field testing)
So how can you identify what type of a tank are you looking at?
There are two features that can be used to distinguishing the tank families: The roadwheel placement and the exhaust ports. The older and smaller T-55 and T-62 have five roadwheels in their suspe…

9000 Tons of Steel: Russian Tank Drills in the Urals

After a flurry of rather disinformative “Tank Carousel” news from Russia the latest reportage from the Russian armed force tank exercise is much more interesting. At the beginning of August the handily named 90th Guards Vitebsk-Novgorod twice Red Banner Tank Division held it’s first divisional sized combat and live fire exercise at Cherbakul in the Chelyabinsk region.
The 90th division, that is stationed in the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, was founded in 2016 and is one of the heaviest hitting Russian formations around. It has a similar structure as the 4th Kantemirovskaya Tank Division that is part of the 1st Guards Tank Army.
The 90th Tank Division consists of the following units: •Headquarters •6th Guards Lvov Tank Regiment  •80th Tank Regiment •239th Guards Tank Regiment •228th Motorized Rifle Regiment •400th Transylvania Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment  •Anti-Aircraft Regiment •30th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion •351st Separate Engineer Sapper Battalion •33rd Separa…

A Piece of our family history: the Battle of Petäjäsaari 1940.

As a celebration of the #Finland100 I decided to write about a small but personal piece of Finnish history. A few years ago my mother asked me to find out what exactly happened to her uncle Sulo, who had disappeared during the Second World War. She knew that it had happened at the end of the Winter War in 1940, but nothing else. She gave me his full name, rough time of birth and a copy of his last letter. In that letter he wrote that he had just arrived as fresh reinforcement to a new unit.



Armed with this information I started to dig some archives and uncovered the date of Sulo's demise, only three days after the last letter was dated. The same source revealed the unit he had served in and the place of his disappearance.
Another archive hosted the war diaries of the different Finnish military units, so I dug out the diary of the 6th company of the 35th infantry regiment, that  Sulo had served in. On the very day my great uncles last letter was dated, there is actually a mention …