Meet Norway’s All-Female Special Forces

Meet the Hunter Troop: Norway's tough-as-nails female soldiers

Whether or not society accepts women soldiers as sturdy, but you gotta admit that seeing women in the world’s first all-female special forces training programme — who specialize in keeping the enemy behind the lines – boosts our inner-strength.

Jannike, a 19-year-old from northern Norway, is a part of Norway’s Hunter Troop – only for female soldiers and is getting trained for close-combat.

Meet the Hunter Troop: Norway's tough-as-nails female soldiers

Picture Credit: BBC

The female squad trains to be the toughest possible, marching for miles weighing heavier than usual, surviving through hunting, practising jumping out of planes etc.

READ: Special Feature: Women in Indian Armed Forces

“I wanted to do something bigger, the toughest the army could offer me,” Jannike tells BBC. “I wanted to [see] how far I could push myself.”

The training sessions always don’t go smoothly. Jannike, who just finished her six months’ course, is now continuing the training in close-combat and offensive driving.

The women in the special troop are aged between 19 and 27

Known locally as The Jegertroppen, the troop came into existence in 2014. Military commanders felt a need to have highly-trained female soldiers who could interact with women and children during deployments due to the war in Afghanistan and collect intelligence.

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Since its inception, over 300 women registered their names to join the troop in the first year. The force recruited only a dozen, who are now training annually.

Norway has 11% women defence personnel, while in the UK, it’s 10.2% and in the US, more than 15% 

“To prepare them, we try to give them the best training possible, as realistic as possible,” says veteran special forces operator Captain Ole Vidar Krogsaeter. “We have them go through the exercises so many times that they are comfortable with it.”

Venderla, 22, passed the course last year. “Women think outside the box,” she says. “Men just do what they are supposed to do. Maybe we are more capable of seeing another solution, a better solution.”

Since Norway is marking its credibility by deploying a women’s squad, their history goes way back to the mid-1980s when the nation became one of the first countries in Nato to allow women to serve in all combat roles. However, the number remained low. The gender equality is noticeable in the country, unlike the United States and Britain, where women have only recently got a restrictions-free official entry in combat units.

Meet the Hunter Troop: Norway's tough-as-nails female soldiers

Picture Credit: BBC

Also Read:UK defence to employ women in combat roles by 2016

“They are not going to win hand-to-hand combat, but most of the time, we use guns and a lot of the time they shoot better than the guys,” says Magnus, a male Norwegian special forces soldier who has trained the Jegertroppen.

According to a 2014 Rand Institute survey among the men in the US Special Operations Command, 85% showed resistance to letting women do their specialised jobs, with 71% were against of women joining their units

Reasons the men in US combat force cited were:

  • That women would fail to achieve tough standards and team cohesion could be affected
  • Physical capability would be a big concern too
  • These men also complained that the effects of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) could be harmful

SheThePeople.TV asked Air Marshal (Retd) Anil Chopra about the current situation of Indian women in combat and how the future looks like in our country.

He said, “Since Joan of Arc and Rani ki Jhansi, women in military have come a long way. Today, they fight alongside men as Commandos, Fighter Pilots and Submariners.  Female combatants display higher levels of alertness, are more knowledgeable about the use of weapons and have better shooting abilities than men.”

Also Read: Here’s why IAF should have women fighter pilots

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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