Around one month after the end of the NATO maneuver „Trident Juncture“, there are exact numbers of participants. The largest alliance exercise in just under 30 years was in the end significantly larger than originally thought.
The largest NATO maneuver since the end of the Cold War, 51,161 soldiers were involved in a closing balance of the military alliance.
Added to this were 7279 vehicles, 274 helicopters and aircraft, as well as 61 ships and submarines, according to a document available to the German Press Agency. As late as May, NATO had expected a number of around 40,000 soldiers.
The two-week field phase of the mainly Norway-based exercise „Trident Juncture“ ended on November 7th. Germany was the final balance with 7,956 soldiers second largest troop contributors behind the United States.
These reported a final participation of 18,000 soldiers, but for the most part only on warships such as the aircraft carrier „Harry S. Truman“ in use. The smallest troop contingent was the small Nato country Iceland. It was only with three forces.
The aim of the maneuver was to send a signal of deterrence to Russia and to train for the so-called case of alliance. This could be called if one or more of the 29 member states were attacked by an opponent. As a result, then the other Allies would have to assist. In addition to the 29 NATO states, the partner countries Sweden and Finland took part in the maneuver.
According to a NATO spokeswoman, the figures in the final balance sheet are based on the information provided by the participating states. She also pointed out that theoretically the number of vehicles could still change slightly. This is because the return of equipment from Norway is still incomplete, she said.
The last NATO maneuvers, which were larger than „Trident Juncture 2018“ were held according to data from NATO diplomats before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. At that time there was, among other things, the maneuver series „Return of Forces to Germany“ (return of armed forces to Germany). It involved up to 125,000 troops.
Moscow had also recently reinforced its exercises again. The maneuver „Sapad“ in Belarus, which borders on the NATO states of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, caused quite a stir a year ago. According to Russian data, 12,700 soldiers were involved, according to Western census even 60,000 to 80,000.