Norway’s Telemark Battalion has a very well deserved reputation for getting it done in Afghanistan. The Telemark Battalion (Bataljonen) is the unit primarily deployed internationally by the Norwegian army. It is a mechanized unit, supporting and occasionally conducting SOF type missions.
What’s sad about their performance is the response it provoked amongst a few Norwegians back home when word got out. One battalion commander (Rune Wenneberg) in particular was the recipient of criticism for the aggressive lethality of his troops. Apparently, they were accused of engaging in “warmongering ethics and dangerous behaviour [sic].” Their commander at the time, Major Rune Wenneberg, told his soldiers they were predators and the Taliban were the prey.
Yeah, that’s just terrible.
Why would anyone be surprised that a military unit with a viking longship as its official crest might break out a metal viking helmet for photos once in a while? Seriously, shouting “To Valhalla!” makes them unethical war-mongering Nazis? It’s like Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann were lobotomized and sent to Norway.
As some of our friends from more than one country put it…Heaven forbid anyone actually wants to go out and engage and suppress the poor, downtrodden Taliban. Those Telemark vikings are bullies. They really should be building and painting schools, stitching up wounded Talibs and clearing minefields. Think about it…some of the best trained, best equipped and best led military units in the entire world, in fact perhaps in the history of military operations, are in Afghanistan building, painting and stitching…when this often creates more work for those doing the building, the painting and the stitching. Medical engagement and similar methods with the local populace are valid counterinsurgency techniques to be sure…that doesn’t obviate the need for ruthless killers out putting an end to those who need to be killed.
Thankfully, it looks like most Norwegians support the Telemark soldiers. There are even Facebook pages to that effect.