Friday, June 24, 2022

Marine Corps stores huge amounts of armor and weaponry in Norwegian caves

Norway shares a 120-mile land border with Russia. And at the same time a heavily-armed Russian convey draws ever closer to eastern Ukraine — raising the possibility of another escalation in the Ukraine’s already-restive east — the U.S. Marine Corps is re-supplying a vital pre-positioning site in central Norway.

The Norwegian pre-positioning program began in 1981, after Norway’s leaders decided that the deterrent effect of a U.S. weapons stash was worth the potential complications of becoming such a close adjunct of the U.S.’s Cold War defense policies. This was a particularly tense period of the Cold War, just after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Today, the Marines still store weapons and materiel in six climate-controlled caves in Trondheim, in central Norway. The Trondheim complex is designed to support a “notional” battle-ready contingent of 16,000 Marines and sailors with 30-days worth of supplies.


The Trondheim stash was a Cold War development, and a relic of a time when Norway was one of NATO’s front-line states with the Soviet Union. A 1991 Rand corporation report reviewed a number of Soviet invasion scenarios of Norway and determined that along the country’s rocky and easily-garrisoned coastline, a single NATO brigade could hold off an entire Soviet division.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.