Search our content

Home  /  Newsroom  /  News  /  2023  /  Immersive cold weather training toughens Danish tankers in Estonia

 Feb 13 2023

Immersive cold weather training toughens Danish tankers in Estonia

TAPA, Estonia - Preparing to fight in any weather, any terrain, is part of daily routine at NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup Estonia. Currently serving alongside the British and French Allies, Danish soldiers with the 2nd tank squadron participated in a cold weather training to possess the essential skills enabling them to operate in the severe climate of the northern Baltic.

For a Danish Leopard 2A7 tank crew, more used to the warm interiors of a high-end battle tank, jumping into an ice-cold lake is ever so slightly beyond their normal training routine.

"It is a little outside their comfort zone," says Captain Vesti, the Deputy Commander of the 2nd tank squadron of the Jutland Dragoon Regiment. "But everybody understands that it is part of being an army soldier and needs to be trained as well."

Cold weather training of a NATO force doesn't just consist of jumping into a lake. The soldiers – also tankers – have to build a certain skill set in order to be able to operate out in the open in adverse weather conditions. It encompasses i.e., bivouacking, handling their weapons in the cold and knowing when and how to light a fire from whatever is available in the natural environment. 

The Danish service members jump fully clothed into the lake one by one. They find that the first few seconds aren't so bad, when body's numb sensory systems try to figure out how to respond to the shock of extreme cold. 

It is the half-minute or so, when the soldiers wait for permission to get out that really tests their resistance to extreme cold. 

"What's 13 plus 13?", asks an instructor, looking intently at an immersed soldier. Only once he gets a correct reply, which he gets every time, can the soldier climb up onto the ice. He or she then walks back slowly up to a clearing and begins the process of drying up and changing clothes. The heat from a wood-burning open fire helps. 

All around, the comrades – completing their own drying process – congratulate the latest cold weather training graduate in between telling jokes and laughing congenially with each other.

This kind of training builds morale,

says Captain Vesti. "That's one of the objectives. Lighting a bonfire is part of the training but it also a way to have a good time together."

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office based on release by Thorir Gudmundsson, NATO eFP Battlegroup Estonia

Getting out of the ice-cold water requires considerable effort, especially when fully clothed / Photo by NATO eFP Battlegroup Estonia
The tankers who took part in the cold-water immersion training found it very beneficial regarding survival techniques and a test of their own abilities / Photo by NATO eFP Battlegroup Estonia
Aside from instructing soldiers in a variety of cold-weather subjects, the course encouraged a sense of camaraderie among service members / Photo by NATO eFP Battlegroup Estonia

Search our content:


Multinational Corps Northeast
Waleriana Łukasińskiego 33
71-215 Szczecin

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Waleriana Łukasińskiego 33
71-215 Szczecin