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 (2000-Pres) Current Day Military talk (No Partisan Politics)
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Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1517
Joined: 2004
Finland and Sweden join NATO ?
5/12/2022 1:51:15 PM
I 've seen several news story's recently about an anticipated request from Finland and Sweden to join NATO and the veiled threats from Moscow. I know very little of Finland and Sweden's military capabilities. Is NATO membership really worth the potential trouble from Russia? Could either country resist like Ukraine if the threats became real?

Larry
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
kaii
Oslo  Norway
Posts: 3076
Joined: 2010
Finland and Sweden join NATO ?
5/12/2022 6:41:20 PM
Finland could definitely resist, even alone, they have a very capable and large conscript military force of ca 900 000 soldiers - and they have the historical experience in fighting the Russians. More importantly, Nordic terrain is not like Ukraine, and the Russians would face even tougher terrain conditions there than they currently do in Ukraine. The northern part of the front (Norway) would be largely mountains and very few roads with bridges that could relatively easily be blown to hamper any advance, and the rest of the frontline through Finland, would be endless forests and lakes that serve to channel Russian movement - rendering most of their mechanised capabilities useless. All armies employ light infantry units (jaegers) with javelin, NLAW and LAW amongst other weapons. Norway would be vulnerable to coastal landings, should the Russian navy survive long enough to manage to land forces and perhaps the weakest link that the Nordic armies will have to address is helicopter lift capacity to make their forces even more mobile.

Sweden are rebuilding their forces and will soon also have a very capable military force, especially their air force is large and capable with the new Gripen E coming online. Norway and Denmark have high quality and capable forces, but both countries lack the reserves to maintain fighting against the Russians for long. Both countries are rebuilding this capacity as well, so will also have forces that will slot nicely into the total Nordic NATO pack. The Russians could eventually easily end up facing some 2 million soldiers, well trained and equipped with the most modern weapons and kit.

With all the Nordic countries in NATO, Russia will face a real challenge on this flank, as the Nordic economies together are larger than Russia, and the Nordic militaries together will pose a serious obstacle for Russia, should they choose to attack. For instance, the Nordic countries in NATO will have close to 300 modern fighter jets, including some 140 F35s. Both Sweden and Norway have very capable submarines and naval vessels, although both countries still need to expand their navies. There are considerable defence industries in the region that can now coordinate their efforts better.

One could imagine a specialisation in "Nordic NATO" where Finland will provide the bulk of first line land forces, with significant reserves from Sweden and Norway, Sweden will provide the primary air force capability with high number of Gripen E aircraft (whereas Norway, Denmark and Finland will operate F35s), and Norway will provide the main blue water navy capability with the new class of frigates, missile corvettes and Type 212CD submarines that are being built together with Germany. Denmark could likely focus on special forces capability for instance.

After what the Russians have showed in Ukraine, they would be foolish to try something against a unified Nordic region in NATO, as the terrain in the region is significantly harder to fight in than Ukraine, and especially the Finns have had 50 years + to prepare for the next war. Unlike the other Nordic (and European)countries, Finland never believe Russia had changed and kept their massive conscript army well trained and equipped.

The primary effect of Sweden and Finland joining will probably be less reliance on US and other NATO reinforcements as the Nordic countries can now officially coordinate their defensive efforts much better. Sure it will give a far longer border against Russia, but as shown in the Winter War, most of that border is relatively easily defendable as it consists of deep forests and very few roads.

You can find details on military strength here [Read More]

K
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"They tried to bury us - but did not realise that we are seeds." -Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4403
Joined: 2004
Finland and Sweden join NATO ?
5/12/2022 7:53:36 PM
Larry, huge questions!

I’m not sure how veiled Russian threats are, to be honest, though except for a guarantee of “drastic” retaliation they do have that “or else” ring of a schoolyard bully (or a Mum!).

I thank Kai for his insightful comments. IIUC, the Swedish airforce also uses many support a/c from US and other NATO countries. I assume that the Grippens will be somewhat compatible with NATO fittings and weaponry. And you talk about Norway carrying the can for a blue water navy in the north – that has been a major Norwegian commitment forever. But I would think the Swedish and Finnish assault craft will also add some concern for Kaliningrad and the various arms of the Baltic Sea.

If you look at a map of NATO expansion since the collapse of the USSR, it is almost possible to pity Mr Putin’s dilemma, since the eastward march is quite clear. The thought of Ukraine joining either the EU or NATO is, IMHO, the root of the current invasion. It brings Russia one step nearer to having no ice-free ports in the west. The abject failure (to date) of Russian military does, of course, weaken any threat Russia can make against Sweden and Finland. Without question, Russia’s military is much weaker today than 78 days ago. Conversely, the inclusion of Sweden and Finland under the NATO umbrella has a more negative impact on Russian hopes and plans than had Ukraine joined EU or NATO.

I’m no military insider. But I think the nuclear threat is an idle one – more bluster than considered plan. And I believe that the longer Russia continues to bleed in Ukraine, the nuclear threat will diminish more.

But we’ll see.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
kaii
Oslo  Norway
Posts: 3076
Joined: 2010
Finland and Sweden join NATO ?
5/19/2022 1:29:20 PM
Quote:

But I would think the Swedish and Finnish assault craft will also add some concern for Kaliningrad and the various arms of the Baltic Sea.

Cheers
Brian G


Very much so Brian, the Swedish submarines and Visby class corvettes are very capable opponents for an ageing Russian Baltic fleet.

K
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"They tried to bury us - but did not realise that we are seeds." -Volodymyr Zelenskiy, President of Ukraine

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