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Friday, 26 May, 2000, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Soldiers' map mix-up
Maps of the Krist towns in Sweden and Norway
Italian map reading error cost delay in Nato exercise
A simple map reading mistake caused a group of highly-trained Italian soldiers to arrive for Nato exercises in the wrong country.

The mix-up was between Kristianstad in Sweden - where the crack troops landed - and Kristiansand in Norway, where they were meant to be.

The soldiers sensed something was wrong at the airport when they were herded to passport control along with the ordinary travellers, where their guns, camouflage uniforms and heavy backpacks made them stand out.



This happens now and then. After all, there are just a couple of letters - but 400 kilometres - separating the two cities

Lennart Nilsson
Kristianstad Airport
The airport director Lennart Nilsson said: "This happens now and then. After all, there are just a couple of letters - but 400 kilometres - separating the two cities."

The border police pointed out the error, along with the fact that Sweden is not even a member of Nato like neighbouring Norway.

About turn

So after two hours, the 116 members of the Italian alpine corps - wearing their trademark Tyrolean feathered caps - marched back aboard their transport plane.

Mr Nilsson said his staff were unable to contain their laughter as the aircraft took off for Norway.

The Alpini finally arrived for Nato's "Co-operative Banners" exercise in southern Norway, slightly late.

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