Tag Archive | NATO

Even the Mona Lisa has cracks in it

Portugal has a long and treasured military history. For more than 115 years the Portuguese Army (Exército Português) has issued German-made 9mm steel-framed pistols starting with the DWM Luger in 1906 and moving to the Walther P-38 after WWII.

Dubbed the M1961, the single stack P38 saw lots of service in places like Angola and Mozambique during the African bush wars of the 1960s and 70s, and still equips soldados in Afghanistan and Mali today.

Now, at the end of an era, Lisbon has gone Glock, adopting the Austrian-made polymer-framed G17. The model selected by the Portuguese Army, a Gen 5 variant, includes several features from the G19X such as a Coyote Tan scheme, night sights, and lanyard ring.

Note the Exército engraving and Portuguese rampant lion

More in my column at Guns.com.

Manta tin cans in the Ionian Sea

You just can’t ask for a better international pack of greyhounds than this.

NATO Photo by FRAN WO Christian Valverde.

NATO Photo by FRAN WO Christian Valverde.

The image shows the Greek frigate Elli, French FREMM-class frigate FS Auvergne (D654), Royal Netherlands Navy De Zeven Provincien-class frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805), Spanish Navy Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate Blas de Lezo (F-103), and the Turkish Navy’s Oliver Hazard Perry-class (Gabya-class in Turkish service) frigate TCG Gelibolu (F-493)— ex-USS Reid (FFG-30).

They are a part of NATO Advanced Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Exercise Dynamic Manta19 started off the cost of Sicily last week. Including Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, ships and aircraft from Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Great Britain, and the U.S. are involved. A total of 5 submarines, 9 ASW surface ships, 6 MPAs and 11 Rotary Wing Aircraft (Helicopters) are slated to participate in this exercise through early March.

IONIAN SEA, Feb 25, 2019. NATO warships sail in formation while performing Dynamic Manta's Photo exercise. Dynamic Manta is an NATO Maritime Command-led exercise designed to sharpen the anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface ship warfare skills of the participating units. Dynamic Manta 2019 will be conducted in vicinity of Italy from 25 February to 8 March and include participants from 10 NATO Allies . Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States provide in total 5 submarines, 9 ASW surface ships, 6 MPAs and 11 Rotary Wing Aircraft (Helicopters) to participate in this exercise. NATO Photo by FRAN WO Christian Valverde.

Pretty sweet photo spread here

Like sniper team postcards?

Sniper teams from eight NATO countries recently visited Austria to use the Alps for some specialized training at Austria’s Hochfilzen Training Area. In such a beautiful part of Europe, the released photos from the event look like they came right from a postcard, but with a bonus sniper team inserted.

Norwegian Army Telemark Battalion sniper team takes aim at targets across a valley. Note the Barrett MRAD. (U.S. Army Photo)

Dutch sniper engages targets in a valley below

More in my column at Guns.com

NATO drops Wolverines video

The above video is pretty interesting if you know the history of the guerrilla war in the Baltic states that was fought by as many as 50,000 Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian partisans against the Red Army from the tail end of WWII through the early 1950s. It’s an unsung war, and the various “Forest Brothers” groups (whose members included several former German soldiers as well as Waffen SS members of the various Baltic legions, a facet often glossed over) that were backed in part by Western intelligence agencies.

The above video was put out this month by NATO, which, especially when combined with other similar videos about modern equivalent of stay-behind units, is probably meant to provide a moment of pause to the big bear on the Baltic states’ Eastern border.

And cue the Russian butt hurt, which is rich considering the little green men running around the Ukraine and Crimea, and the fact that they annexed the Baltics in 1939 by force.

The very well armored Lt. Willassen of the Norse

An interesting interview published through NATO’s channels of Lieutenant Silje Johansen Willassen, Norway’s Telemark Battalion’s first female tank platoon commander, in charge of a quartet of German-built Leopard MBTs. Telemark is the Army ‘s rapid reaction force and is equipped with Swedish CV-9030N infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard 2A4NO tanks, the latter picked up slightly used from the Dutch Army in 2001.

Norway will be sending a mixed force company to Lithuania in May to support NATO’s enhanced forward presence. The company, of around 200 troops, will be drawn from the Telemark Battalion– and Willassen will command half of the tanks slated for the force. They will provide combat support to the German-led multinational battalion. The deployment will be for six months.

NATO hangs it up on Blackbeard

NATO’s last counter-piracy surveillance aircraft is flying her final mission, as part of the now-shuttered Operation Ocean Shield. The Royal Danish Air Force crew a Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft, a modified Bombardier Challenger 604, and talks about how much the coast of Somalia has changed since the height of pirate activity in the Horn of Africa.

The operation, which began in 2009 as part of a broader international effort to crack down on Somali-based pirates who had caused havoc with world shipping, was conducted alongside Operation Atalanta— the EU operation in the area which current have a frigate each from Holland and Spain supported by a German P-3– and the 25-nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, both of which are on-going.

At the height of piracy in January 2011 over 700 hostages and 32 vessels were being held by Somali pirates, with huge ransoms demanded for their release.  Today, no vessels or hostages are being held by Somali pirates. The most recent pirate incident occurred on 22 October 2016, when a chemical tanker, CPO Korea, was attacked by six armed men 330 nautical miles off the east coast of Somalia.

“The global security environment has changed dramatically in the last few years and NATO navies have adapted with it,” NATO spokesman Dylan White said in a statement. “NATO has increased maritime patrols in the Baltic and Black Seas. We are also working to help counter human smuggling in the Mediterranean.”

As for the EU operation, on Friday 25 November 2016, the European Council extended Operation Atalanta’s mandate to deter, disrupt and repress acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia, until 31 December 2018.

Fire and ice

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dalton A. Precht

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Dalton A. Precht (click to big up)

A U.S. Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams tank fires its main gun as it takes part in a live-fire exercise in Rena, Norway. The Marines are preparing themselves for Exercise Cold Response 16, which will bring together 12 NATO allies and partner nations and approximately 16,000 troops in order to enhance joint crisis response capabilities in cold weather environments.

More on Cold Response 16 including a bunch of videos in my column at Guns.com.

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