Telemark Battalion

Telemark Bataljon

Insignia of the Telemark Battalion
Active 1993–2002
Country  Norway
Branch Army
Type Line Infantry
Role Mechanised Infantry
Size One battlegroup
Part of Brigade Nord
Garrison/HQ Rena
Colors Emerald green beret
Engagements Bosnian War
Kosovo War
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
Lieutenant colonel
Trond Haande
Commander-in-Chief HM The King

The Telemark Bataljon (Telemark Battalion, TMBN) is a mechanised infantry unit of the Norwegian Army. It was established in 1993, and is a part of Brigade Nord and stationed at Rena, Hedmark. The battalion consists of five companies/squadrons.


In 1993 it was a motorised infantry unit, tasked as an Immediate Reaction Force with the Norwegian Army, stationed at Heistadmoen in southern Norway, manned mainly by conscripts.

It served in Bosnia, and by 2002, all the enlisted soldiers had two and three-year contracts of enlistment and the unit had no more conscripts.

The battalion was moved to a new camp at Rena and converted to mechanised infantry. Presented with its new colours in 2002, the Telemark Battalion was operational on 1 July 2003.

The unit participated in Operation Karez in Afghanistan, in May 2008.[1]

One soldier died in Afghanistan in 2004,[2][3] and one died there in 2010.[4]


TMBN-soldier in Afghanistan
TMBN-soldiers in Afghanistan
TMBN Afghanistan
Two gray haired older men talk with a soldier wearing camouflage and a green beret who is facing away.
Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg (right) and his predecessor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left), talk with members of the Telemark Battalion in Oslo.

In addition, the Telemark Battalion frequently trains with the rest of the Norwegian Army High Reaction Force. This is a composite unit made up of the Telemark Battalion, as well as enlisted personnel from support capabilities, ranging from artillery to military police.

The Telemark Battalion was one of the infantry battalions assigned to the NATO Response Force during the NRF-4 rotation from January to July 2005; the others were Regiment Johan Willem Friso and Regiment Van Heutsz of the Dutch Army and Fallschirmjägerbataillon 373 of the German Army.

Telemark Battalion is the primary source of international contributions from the Norwegian Army. The battalion has almost constantly been involved in the ISAF operation in Afghanistan since 2003.

Incidents in Afghanistan

Since the summer of 2009, there have been several instances of soldiers from the unit spray painting a Punisher skull (in part inspired[5] by the character from comic books and movie – the Punisher) on houses and property belonging to Afghans whom soldiers suspected of having ties to the insurgency. The purported purpose was to "send a message",[6] to leaders of the insurgency, that the Norwegian soldiers would not allow them to continue their offensive.

In September 2010, Verdens Gang reported that some soldiers were still using a Punisher skull that had been prohibited by the leadership of Norway's military.[7]

The alleged crimes of threatening and spray painting the property of suspected insurgents did not lead to any criminal charges.[6]

Battle cry

In 2010, Dagbladet published a video of company commander Rune Wenneberg leading a battle cry ("To Valhalla") by soldiers of the unit — his intro to the cry was "[inaudible] are hunters. But you are the predator. Taliban is the prey. To Valhalla!"[8]"

In 2011, Dag Herbjørnsrud wrote in an editorial that "Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik wasn't sending soldiers into war — he was merely supplying manpower to a "peacekeeping mission". Is it odd that the media was surprised by Norwegian soldiers using Viking helmets and battle cries of Vikings?"[9]


Notable soldiers


  1. Telemark Battalion in new combat with Taliban, Aftenposten, 27 May 2008 (English) Archived June 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. , CNN, 23 May 2004 (English)
  3. "(Six of nine Norwegians killed by roadbombs)Seks av ni norske drept av veibomber" "23 May 2004: Grenader Tommy Rødningsby fra Telemark bataljon blir drept "
  4. "I januar 2010 ble Claes Joachim «Jokke» Olsson drept av en veibombe"
  6. 1 2 Verdens Gang 2011-11-14 p.47
  7. "FORBUDT: Til tross for gjentatte forbud fra forsvarsledelsen, fortsetter noen av soldatene fra Telemark bataljon å bruke dette merket, dødninghodet «The Punisher». Merket fikk påskriften «Jokke – we will never forget» etter at Claes Joachim Olsson ble drept av en veibombe i januar."
  8. 12 seconds into the video: "Men dere som er rovdyret. Taliban er nå byttet. Til Valhall"
  9. "Lurte nordmenn — Noe av fordømmelsen kan nok bunne i at norsk offentlighet ble forledet fra å få vite hvilken krig landet deltok i. Statsminister Kjell Magne Bondevik (KrF) sendte jo ikke ut soldater i krig, kun personell til en «fredsbevarende operasjon». Er det rart mediene ble overrasket over at norske soldater hadde på seg hjelm og ropte vikingslagord?"
  10. 1 2
  11. "(- A miracle that I am alive)- Et mirakel at jeg lever"
  12. - Dette er dypt tragisk - Statsminister Jens Stoltenberg sier norske myndigheter har arbeidet hardt for å hjelpe Moland og French ut av Kongo.
  13. A full-page article in Aftenposten, 2010-12-11, page 4 by Kristin Høiland
  14. Thomas Berg (2007-10-05). "Fredskrigeren". Morgenbladet.

See also

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