Special Operations: Vikings In Iraq

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April 17, 2015: Norway is sending several dozen members of its Telemarksbataljonen (Telemark Battalion) to northern Iraq to train and operate with Kurdish forces there. The Telemark troops are special operations forces, something like American Rangers. The operators in the Telemark Battalion pride themselves on their toughness and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

They established a fierce reputation with their adversaries in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Telemark operators also use psychological warfare. An example of this is their use of their logo (similar to the skull symbol used by the Marvel comics character the Punisher) in Afghanistan, where they would come at night and mark homes of Taliban or Taliban sympathizers with a spray painted version of their logo. Many of the Telemark operators consider themselves modern day Vikings and not to be messed with. In Iraq and Afghanistan the Islamic terrorists quickly learned to avoid these Norwegian soldiers who were more unpredictable and dangerous than most European troops.

Technically the Telemark Battalion is a rapid reaction force for the Norwegian Army that is also trained to handle peacekeeping duties. Many Norwegian anti-war groups consider the Telemark Battalion full of extremist warmongers and the government has responded several times by criticizing Telemark behavior overseas. But no members of the Telemark unit have ever been punished. All members of the Telemark Battalion are professional soldiers and its base is in the north near the Russian border. Note that the Norwegian Army only has 11,000 active duty personnel and the Telemark Battalion is about eight percent of that.

 

 


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