British soldiers allegedly won’t train in frigid Arctic temps
Are British troops avoiding Norway because it’s too cold? Local newspapers claim that frigid temperatures at a cold weather training base in northern Norway are deterring British forces from venturing there.
“British officers have said that they do not want to train with large divisions in Porsanger, where the temperature drops to 25 degrees below zero,” said Lt. Col. Trond Thomassen, commander of Norway’s Allied Training Centre in Porsangmoen, told Norwegian-language Finnmarks Dagblad.
That’s minus 25 degrees Celsius, or minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit.
“The British have rules for health and safety,” Thomassen told Finnmarks Dagblad, whose article was translated by the English-language Norwegian paper The Local. “They would be sitting in the barracks, and receiving no training at all, whenever the mercury dropped below minus 20.”
Thomassen also pointed out that troops from NATO countries such as Spain are not accustomed to these temperatures.
This outraged local politicians, who argue that it only gets that cold a few days a year—and who want to see more troops to train at Persangmoen and spend money in the local economy. “Our allies have trained for operations in Afghanistan, where it gets very cold,” one Norwegian politician said, according to a Google translation of the Finnmarks Dagblad article.
Col. Dominic May, commander of the Royal Marines’ Commando Logistics Regiment, disputed the alleged British reticence for sub-zero temperatures. “We certainly don’t stop training at minus 20, that’s nonsense,” he told The Local. However, he did add that the Royal Marines preferred the Allied Training Center in Harstad, several hundred kilometers south of Porsangmoen.
The U.S. Army does not appear quite so delicate. The Army conducts Arctic training at the Northern Warfare Training Center at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, Alaska.
“The winter temps in November to February average around minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows around minus 45. But minus 65 not uncommon,” an officer at the school told War is Boring. “We train our students throughout the winter outside.”