Sharing experiences and lessons learned within military allies to ensure global security cannot be overstated. In Part 2 of the 3 part Winter Warfare training series, Canadian Forces veteran Jonathan Wade has elaborated on the importance of sharing experiences from the Canadian forces with their allies, especially with the United States military.

Let’s revisit some key points discussed in the original piece published in 2014 and delve deeper into the evolving landscape of international collaboration in winter warfare.

NATO’s Role in Shaping Military Cooperation

NATO has continued to play a vital role in promoting and enhancing military cooperation among its member states.

The military alliance’s ability to coordinate and cooperate across borders and climates is crucial, particularly in the face of emerging global security challenges.

As previously highlighted in Part 1, Afghanistan served as an exemplary case of NATO’s coordinated efforts, with lessons learned from previous conflicts – like Iraq and Afghanistan – being shared openly among its member nations.

United States Military: A Valuable Ally in Winter Warfare

The US military remains an indispensable ally, and its willingness to share experiences and knowledge is a cornerstone of effective military cooperation.

Since 2014, this collaboration has continued to evolve. Exercises such as RAFALE BLANCHE in Northern Canada have provided opportunities for Canadian military personnel to work on their fundamental competencies.

Winter Warfare Training Poland
US, Polish, and Lithuanian Special Operations Forces participating in a winter warfare training near Zakopane, Poland, January 14, 2018 (Image source: DVIDS)

These joint efforts and exchanges contribute to improving the capabilities of allied forces in the challenging conditions of winter warfare.

Paratroopers and Aerial Delivery Assets

In winter warfare, mobility is paramount.

Paratroopers, renowned for their agility and rapid deployment capabilities, have played a significant role in this context.

As highlighted in the original article, paratroopers, along with aerial delivery assets, are a valuable asset in winter warfare.

Dropping goods in Arctic conditions can be a safer and more efficient alternative to traversing vast, open areas exposed to the elements; thus, it remains a core strategy for winter warfare preparedness.

Cross-Border Collaborations: Learning from Allies

Collaboration among NATO allies, particularly with the British and the Poles, has strengthened over the years.

The exchange of military expertise has expanded, with Poland’s participation in major Canadian exercises and the presence of Polish paratroopers during RAFALE BLANCHE.

These interactions not only enhance the capabilities of Canadian forces but also strengthen the bonds between allied nations.

Global Learning: Expanding Horizons

Learning from allies beyond NATO borders continues to be a significant aspect of international cooperation.

Soldiers from Canada have gained essential knowledge from their American counterparts and participated in training in various environments.

For example, the exchange of insights and experiences with the Gurkhas on winter warfare and jungle warfare has enriched the skillset of Canadian military personnel.

Marine Cooperation: A Transatlantic Partnership

The collaboration between the Canadian military and the United States Marines has only deepened in recent years.

The experience of Canadian soldiers training at Camp Lejeune alongside the British Royal Marines, who had recently returned from Afghanistan, has proven invaluable.

These partnerships not only enhance military skills but also foster professional relationships that endure beyond the training grounds.

Norwegian Expertise in Winter Warfare

The Norwegian School of Winter Warfare remains one of the world’s leading institutions in this domain. Canadian soldiers continue to visit Norway to learn from the best in winter warfare.

Winter Warfare Training
Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard participate in the Annual US/Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange in Norway, February 19, 2008 (Image source: DVIDS)

With nearly 400 years of experience in winter operations, the Norwegians offer unparalleled expertise. Their methods and practices continue to benefit Canadian soldiers, making them better prepared for winter warfare.

Canadian Rangers: Masters of Survival

The Canadian Rangers, with their exceptional skills in navigating the harsh northern landscape, have proven to be valuable mentors for Canadian military personnel.

These indigenous Rangers’ ability to navigate without relying on GPS or electronic devices is a skillset worth embracing for all soldiers.

The knowledge shared by the Rangers not only enhances survival skills but also fosters mutual respect and cooperation.

Conclusion: Preparing for the Future

While military forces worldwide are trained to operate in all weather conditions, the emphasis on survival and preparedness remains crucial.

International training centers, such as the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Centre and the Norwegian School of Winter Warfare, serve as models for Canada to establish similar institutions.

Learning from allies and sharing experiences continue to be the cornerstones of building resilient armed forces capable of responding to emerging security challenges.

In Part 3 of the Winter Warfare training series, we will explore the importance of organizations like the Arctic Council, the significance of NORAD, and the evolving dynamics in the Arctic region with implications from Russia and China.

Stay tuned as we continue to uncover the complexities of modern military cooperation and preparedness in the face of changing global security landscapes.