Saros Bay, on Turkey's Aegean Coast, was the scene of a mass invasion on Friday (30 September).
Saros Bay, on Turkey's Aegean Coast, was the scene of a mass invasion on Friday (30 September). Six thousand NATO troops gathered there to stage an amphibious assault as part of the NATO forces' autumn exercises.
SYNOPSIS: The combined exercise was designed to exercise NATO capability to reinforce the southeastern flank of NATO in case of aggression, and to provide the countries involved with a chance of training together under realistic conditions.
The landing force was composed mainly of American marines but also included troops from Britain, Italy and Turkey. They were supported by artillery, armoured vehicles, and amphibious assault craft with helicopters and all-weather planes providing air cover. The exercise code-named 'Display Determination 1977', was the first such exercise held in Turkey for three years.
The objective of this part of the exercise was to secure the beach head, after which the landing force moved towards its final target, an air base 10 miles (16 kms) inland. A major feature of the exercise was the flying in of American marine reinforcements from their U.S. bases. At the same time a NATO ground exercise was held in Italy.
The location for the exercise is normally warm this time of year, but it was bitterly cold when manoeuvres began. Officers welcomed the shelter of the tents which were their communications headquarters, and warm observation posts.
The exercise actually began more than a week earlier when allied forces met near Gibraltar to cross the Mediterranean, so it was no wonder some troops felt like a rest when the opportunity came. Sandy dunes or patches of grass were just the answer for quick relief. But the exercise was to continue for a further week, so any respite was brief....and probably uncomfortable.