Privates on parade: Soldiers in Norway must return their underwear

Privates on parade: Soldiers in Norway must return their underwear and socks after completing military service for the next recruits to wear due to shortages blamed on Covid

  • Norway conscripts around 8,000 soldiers each year to guard border with Russia 
  • Used to leave barracks with underwear they were issued but must now return it 
  • Previously voluntary, it is now mandatory because of shortages blamed on Covid

Soldiers in Norway must return their underwear and socks after completing military service for the next recruits to wear because of shortages blamed on Covid-19. 

Norway conscripts around 8,000 young men and women for military service every year to guard NATO’s northern border and the frontier with Russia. 

Until recently, newly discharged conscripts left their barracks with the underwear they were issued.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously strained the flow of supplies with factory shutdowns and transport problems, leading the Norwegian military to ask conscripts to hand over underwear, bras and even socks.  

Soldiers in Norway must return their underwear and socks after completing military service for the next recruits to wear because of shortages blamed on Covid-19

Though originally voluntary, it has now been made mandatory, public broadcaster NRK reported on Friday.

‘Now that we have chosen to reuse this part of the kit, it helps us… We don’t have enough in stock,’ defence logistics spokesman Hans Meisingset told NRK.

‘The textiles are washed, cleaned and checked. What we distribute is in good condition,’ he said.

A conscripts’ representative, however, criticised recurrent shortcomings, saying they could end up affecting operations.

‘Severe shortages of equipment and clothing can potentially affect operational readiness and, in the worst case, the safety of the soldier,’ Eirik Sjohelle Eiksund told trade publication Forsvarets Forum.

Norway conscripts around 8,000 young men and women for military service every year to guard NATO’s northern border and the frontier with Russia

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