ENN Issue 9a
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ENN Issue 9f
Battle in Bardufoss

January 2, 2010

Bardufoss, Norway (ENN) - Norwegians have reclaimed a crucial airport facility today in their quest for liberation. 

Norwegian soldiers
Norwegian soldiers fire Carl Gustav in battle

Details are still unclear due to the recent nature of this action, however it is known that NATO wrestled control of the skies above Bardufoss and managed to launch numerous airstrikes. A number of F-5's and A-10 Tank Killers were seen swooping in and around Bardufoss seeking targets of opportunity.

A short time later, units from the 5th brigade of the 6th division launched an attack supported by devastating artillery fire. The airport was promptly secured and allied attentions were shifted to the city.

Russian soldiers made an attempt to stand their ground and succeeded in inflicting moderate casualties on the attacking Norwegians. However, once it became clear the town would be retaken the Russian paratroopers sought to stage an orderly withdrawal.

However, the retreating units found themselves flanked by a well coordinated Norwegian second thrust and the retreat degenerated from a disciplined disengagement to a full-blown rout as paratroopers fled under heavy fire.

While it is not known exactly how many Russian soldiers escaped, it is believed only a few dozen managed to elude the Norwegians out of the hundreds who once occupied the town.

Reclaimed a portion of their homeland was important to the morale of the Norwegian troops. It was particularly uplifting for those troops of the 5th brigade who had lost well over half of their comrades-in-arms in the opening stages of the invasion.

"As soon as they go home I will stop killing them," declared one jubilant soldier, flashing the "V" for victory sign as he marched in to secure the city.

Residents that had been trapped in the city greeted the liberating soldiers with warm bowls of soup and even warmer hugs.

 

B52 Strikes Plagued by Controversy

The Norwegian government has strongly criticized a devastating bombardment by U.S. B52 bombers in the vicinity of Bardufoss.

They expressed gratitude for NATO's efforts in repelling the Russian invasion force, including the armored vehicles destroyed in this attack, but protested the considerable damage caused to their own infrastructure.  

One Norwegian politician declared there was "no way they (NATO) are going to bomb us back to the stone age, especially since it's unlikely the Russians will be able to hold onto the territory they've seized".  He went on to demand the U.S. should pay reparations to Norway for damage inflicted by such strikes after the conflict has ended

The infrastructure damage wasn't the only issue raised about the attack. The uproar was joined by even more moderate officials once it was learned that the munitions dropped by the bombers were cluster bombs. The possibility of civilian deaths from unexploded ordnance, especially involving children, has generated a demand that NATO get approval for all future strikes of this magnitude from the Norwegian government.

In addition to this controversy, it was also learned that a U.S. B-52 bomber squadron was downed while returning from the Bardufoss strike. (read more)

Although this development tempered the Norwegian outrage over property damage, it raised questions about using the 50-plus year old bombers in a modern conflict.  Others are wondering what, if any, fighter escort was used to protect the squadron and why it was apparently unsuccessful in protecting the vulnerable B-52s.

 

Transcript from a report near Bardufoss provided live via satellite...

 

ENN:  This is Amber K. Nien reporting from Norway.

For two days now we have been making our way northward along the Norwegian coast hoping to reach the war torn area of Bardufoss.

The winding road is difficult even in the best of times but now the journey is as treacherous as it will ever get.

The storm front blanketing the North Sea has made movement difficult; ice, sleet and snow cover everything. Visibility is reduced to a mere thirty feet at times and road conditions are all but un drivable.

This made the first day's journey difficult and almost ended our efforts to follow the war before they had begun, but on the second day we began to learn just how herculean our task would become.

We have made contact with the refugees fleeing the conflict. Men, women and children, young and old alike have been driven from their homes and are braving elements not fit for brute beasts because the danger of remaining in their homes in the midst of an active war zone is even worse. They stare with hollow, sunken eyes at us questioning our madness as we move closer to the horror they are fleeing.

At times there are bodies lying beside the road. Mostly the elderly and infirm that have succumbed to the elements. Carrying them is not an option. There is simply too much to carry as it is. They can't be buried, the ground is too frozen to permit that. All that can be done is for members of the local Red Cross to register the names and location of the bodies on a map so that they may be recovered once the fighting has passed.

From the few people that have granted us interviews we have come to understand that there are no intact families. Everyone has a family member missing or dead. Red Cross officials tell us that unless these people get food, water and shelter soon the death toll will escalate into the thousands within days. We've been told that NATO has retaken Bardufoss but that is cold comfort for these souls.

I have here Lieutenant Karl Jarlesberg from the Norwegian 6th division. Lieutenant you were present for the re-taking off Bardufoss, is that correct?

Lt. Jarlesberg: "Yes."

ENN: Can you offer any details?

Lt. Jarlesberg:  "Yes, we attacked them just after dawn. We took the city and the airport."

ENN: Was it just your unit?

Lt. Jarlesberg:  "No, we had many A-10's and fighters. The pilots killed many Russians vehicles as we rushed the airport and surrounded the city. We cut-off many Russians but some escaped."

ENN: Do you know where the escaping may have gone?

Lt. Jarlesberg: "To hell I hope."

ENN:  Umm, understandable I guess. Can you report on casualties?

Lt. Jarlesberg: "No, that is a matter of security, but it is a war. People are dying. The town suffered heavy damage, but we will have our homes back."

ENN:  Thank you lieutenant.

As you can see emotions run high, but so does the morale of the troops.

No one knows where the Russians will strike next. What is certain is that wherever they go the vengeance seeking alliance is sure to be close behind and a maelstrom of death will ensue.

It looks as if this war is going to become a meat grinder with each side attempting to exhaust the other. No sweeping maneuvers here, no grand strategy, just one bloody mass of chaos and destruction...

From the Norwegian coast, this is Amber K. Nien reporting for the Electronic News Network.


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