Thousands of troops stormed onto the normally-placid. Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland?
Thousands of troops stormed onto the normally-placid. Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland on Sunday (10 September) as part of NATO's largest-ever exercise -- codenamed Northern Wedding. The exercise was designed to test swift troop reinforcements and resupplying in times of stress or warfare.
SYNOPSIS: About eight thousand British, United States and Dutch marines mounted a sea and airborne assault on the remote islands. Awaiting to repulse them were defensive forces from nine NATO countries. This assault took place on the sixth day of the overall exercise, and there were another nine days to go. These manoeuvres in the Shetland Islands were due to last for three days.
Different sectors of the exercise were planned to range over huge areas of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and English Channel. It was deploying enormous numbers of personnel and a formidable array of machines: forty thousand troops, two hundred ships, twenty-two submarines and eight hundred planes and helicopters.
Local residents, who live in one of the most tranquil places in Europe, gathered to watch fascinated as the mock assault poured towards them. Reports said that, at sea, there were equally interested observers-the Soviet Union which closely monitors all NATO exercises.
At least fifteen Soviet surface ships, and six submarines, were reported in vigil off the Scottish mainland coast.
As well as the marine landing here, and transporting reinforcements, a major factor in operation Northern Wedding was protecting elements of the British mobile force. While this was going on, British and Dutch marines were also making landings in southern Norway, and American marines, the famous 'Leathernecks' were streaming ashore at Jutland in Denmark.
Despite the enormous armoury of sophisticated electronic devices at their disposal, both attacking and defending forces were proving again that basic roles are still crucial.