Special Operations: Vikings In Iraq


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.



Article Archive

Special Operations: Current 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close