Ambassadorial report: International exercise Anvil'09
Greetings fellow eUK'ers. As your local ambassador to Finland I feel obliged to report back about Anvil'09, a joint military exercise between Finnish and Norwegian militaries. The exercise will see full-scale mobilisation of both militaries and foreign military observers will be watching over the exercise.
Background for the exercise
As you can read from my previous report about Finland, both Finnish and Norwegian populations have been declining. Recently both countries have received an influx of new players and to improve their strength, it was decided to organize a joint military exercise. The exercises main objectives are to:
1. Activate new and old players
2. Promote co-operation, mutual understanding and confidence among participating forces
3. To enhance their interoperability in possible ATLANTIS-lead crisis response operations using multinational units.
The operation is second joint military operation between Finnish and Norwegian militaries. In order not to activate Mutual Protection Pacts, the site for the exercise was chosen to be Leningrad Oblast (Karelia). Local Russians have given permission to use the site for the duration of the exercise. The war will see hundreds of Finnish soldiers clashing against the wall of Norwegian defenders.
The decision to choose Karelia as training site for the exercise saw conflicting feelings in Finnish as in real life Soviet Union annexed Karelia from Finland in WW2.
Day 1: Initial engagement
I myself followed the war campaign with the 1st Mechanized Jaeger Company of Finnish Rapid Deployment Force. As I see it, the FRDF (NTJ in finnish) is highly trained and functional unit that can concentrate firepower on battlefield with deadly accuracy. This was felt by the Turks in the recent independence war between Greece and Turkey. The war would have been lost were it not for the Finns, many of who sacrificed their wellness and hard earned money to give the Greek independence.
Finnish military units, led by the Finnish Rapid Deployment Force, began their attack on unsuspecting Karelian military positions with artillery fire. Approximately 60% of casualties in a war are caused by indirect fire. Indirect fire causes momentary paralysis and it has as a formidable psychological effect on the target.
The Finnish army tactics resemble British army maneuvers. Jaeger companies advance with the support of indirect fire units. Reconnaissance units chart targets for the artillery and mortars and shortly after, one minute long barrage of artillery fire ensues. The jaeger company platoons wait for the strike to end at a safe distance and immediately after the attack is over, the infantry charges towards enemy.
Finnish use PASI XA-180 Armoured Personnel Carriers to transport their soldiers to the battlefield. I traveled with the company OC in one of the PASIs. Approximately one kilometer before the Karelian border, jaegers got off the APC's and spread out, waiting for battle contact. The OC ordered the fire control squad to move out ahead of jaeger platoons and paint targets for the company's own fire support unit (two 81mm mortars) and battalion's artillery regiment.
The company spread out to form a long line with platoons evenly spaced, covering a large area of Karelian forests. The fire control squad moved out to a nearby hill to paint Karelian border military positions. As I was about to ask from the OC how he is going to execute the attack, there was a harrowing sound of assault rifle fire – the Finnish had met a Norwegian scouting party. Platoon leaders began shouting orders and squads began burrowing in ground, preparing for the worst. I put my helmet on just in case but the assault rifle fire stopped soon – the Norwegians retreated. Couple of minutes later I heard thumping sounds from behind – the artillery had begun firing. I watched the shells drop near the horizon and 30 seconds later, a thundering sound ensued. There was a thick cloud of land flying up like it was only smoke – but I knew it was dirt, rocks and wood.
Fire support group firing at the Norwegian positions
Company OC followed his wristwatch and one minute after the first shells hit the ground, he ordered the company to move out. Platoons charged out running as fast as they could but still maintaining formation. I followed them from behind and watched as the Finns engaged the surviving shell shocked Norwegians, many of whose ears were bleeding from the sound of artillery fire. The border positions were devastated and the attack was met with minimal resistance – the indirect (some say unfair) fire had worked as planned.
Infantry charging towards Norwegian positions
After the last of the defenders was shot, the Finnish grouped to form a 360 degree defence perimeter in case there were Norwegian military units roaming the forests. According to my observations, the attack was carried out with extreme professionality. The Finnish are almost more disciplined than the British soldiers; they carry out orders first and moan afterwards, as it should be.
The rest of the battalion was still fighting against other positions on Karelian border, but according to radio reports the attack seemed to be successful on all fronts. The combination of indirect fire and Finnish jaegers was unmatched by the Norwegians. After a while, as there was no contact with the enemy, logistics carried food to the 'objective' the Finns were occupying and platoon leaders sent men in orderly fashion to eat, while some stayed in guard. The day saw no further action as the Norwegians made no counter-attack on Finnish positions. The fire control squad set out to chart more Norwegian targets and the jaegers dug holes on the ground, preparing for possible Norwegian indirect fire. The day was over and I decided to return to the embassy and write this report. Later a report came in that the Norwegians made the expected counter attack and pushed the Finnish back with amassed armour battalions.
Prior to attack I listened to a conversation between two Finnish soldiers about the exercise. I do not release names of the people behind this conversation.
Unknown Soldier 1: ”What if the Norwegian attack for real?”
Unknown Soldier 2: ”F*ck. Erwin has sold us
Unknown Soldier 1: ”No wonder he doesn't want a second term.”
Unknown Soldier 2: ”They [Norwegians ] have paid us that they can conquer us again.”
Unknown Soldier 1: ”Well, at least we get a new flux of players again if they do. [said sarcastically]”
Unknown Soldier 2: ”Erwin [Finnish president] probably traded Finland for a sausage and one used Spice Girls album.”
Platoon OC: ”Alright, that's enough. You have work to do, move out!”
Finns have a tendency to make fun of their leaders but they respect their authority and follow orders to the letter.
I will be monitoring the exercise for the rest of it's duration. It was said that if the region seems to end up being captured, the Finnish president, Erwin Schauman will press the retreat button. Currently it does not seem to be in need. In my opinion we have a lot to learn from smaller countries. Their solutions are usually highly inventive and could be successfully integrated to our system. I have even noted some solutions in the Finnish army which work better than the British equivalents.
Reporting live from battlefield
Capt. avec, UK Paratrooper Platoon D leader,
Ambassador to eFinland and eSweden