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US Marines store equipment in secret caves in preparation for war with Russia

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An overall shot of the entrances to the Bjugn Cave Facility in Norway. This picture shows some of the equipment already pulled from the cave parked on the lot that will be taken to Estonia for Baltic Challenge ’97, a Partnership for Peace exercise. (DoD photo)

US Marine Corps armored assets have come out of their secret caves in Norway to partake in Finnish tank exercises, but why are they there in the first place?

Thirty Marines left their secret Norwegian cave complex and headed to Pojankangas Training Area for the Arrow 18 exercise, marking a historic occasion and first ever participation in the exercise by the US Marines.

For those still hung up on the idea of Marine Abrams tanks scrambling out of caves in Norway, the concept is nothing new, though still incredibly fascinating.

Established in 1981 during the Cold War, the underground site (known as the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway) is a massive series of climate-controlled caves (imagine it like an incredibly-long airplane hangar that never seems to end) that reportedly houses enough equipment and supplies to keep an entire Marine Expeditionary Brigade in the fight for thirty days.

Neatly parked and carefully maintained military vehicles sit at the ready at the underground U.S. Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, near Trondheim, Norway, Sept. 9, 2015. (DoD Photo by Glenn Fawcett/Released)

While the United States often foots the bill for NATO, the case of the Norwegian base is an exception- Norway largely pays for the facility and operations are mostly run by Norwegian contractors. Due to some security restrictions, however, there are some US troops running a few of the facilities.

Rows of front loaders and 7-ton trucks sit, gassed up and ready to roll in one of the many corridors in the Frigard supply cave located on the Vaernes Garrison near Trondheim, Norway. This is one of seven caves that make up the Marine Corps Pre-positioning Program-Norway facility. All the caves total more than 900,000 sq. ft. of storage space, full of enough gear to outfit 13,000 Marines for up to 30 days.  (Marine Corps photo)

Since 2014, the amount of supplies has been increased due to deteriorating relations with Russia, which continue to be on the decline to this day.

While all are part of one giant footprint, there are eight facilities in total, bringing the combined area to over 673,000 square feet of storage space.

According to the Marine Corps Times, the USMC officials say it is fairly routine to move vehicles out of the cage in order to let them “stretch their legs” at various training ranges in Europe.

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