Tobias Nicolai

The army’s clenched fist for Weekendavisen

Can Denmark defend itself? NATO’s recent critique of the Danish army is the most serious in a very long time. We went to the military training grounds in Oksbøl to meet those it’s actually about: the army’s 1st brigade - or ‘the army’s clenched fist’ as the brigadier general has dubbed it. How do they view the critique and most importantly themselves?

“The general gets up and walks happily amongst his people with a straw in the corner of his mouth. Suddenly it rains from a blue sky. The heath lies long and flat with brown dunes and light green moss under the lyme grass. A rainbow appears behind enemy lines. The enemy are the targets that a soldier dressed in an orange vest moves up and down in the landscape with an iPad. Everything smells of gunpowder. Sand drifts when the 556 rifles are fired. Soldiers move forward on their bellies agile and focused. The shouting is precise: “Tank 12 o’clock!” “Lund! Left flank!” “Im down to seven mags, Theis!”It yanks in our spinal column, when the two infantry combat vehicles fires. A dusin armored infantryman runs from an elevated sandbowl towards a patch of forest.”

Read online here

Shot on assignment for Weekendavisen

Photo editor: Mie Brinkmann

Words: Magnus Boding Hansen

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