No this is not the Hoth system, it’s Canada …

In this series of articles, I will elaborate on the importance of being able to fight in winter warfare here in Canada. It is also important to share our experience with our NATO allies but even more with the United States Military as we share an unprotected border and we keep our continent safe and secured through NORAD.

But before going into the subject, I’d like to talk about my experience in the winter. In 14 years of service, I had the opportunity to go in the Great North three times for periods between 7-21 days. We also had an introduction to winter warfare every year to keep a certain standard and readiness and to make sure our newly formed privates don’t die from hypothermia.

While most of the effort and budget was directed to Afghanistan, we kept training for Winter Warfare at a platoon and company level. We would spend weeks in the field here in Quebec working on the very basics; establishing patrol bases with arctic tents, conducting combat patrols with snowshoes and working a cache routine to keep the enemy at bay.

It was a normal thing for me to be able to operate in temperature of about -20 to -40 degrees celsius with efficiency. Most of the Canadian soldiers learn to work in the cold the hard way but they get used to it and it becomes second nature.

RAFALE BLANCHE, a Brigade Major Winter Warfare Exercise

Approximately 2,500 soldier and 700 vehicles from the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG) are presently taking part in a major exercise called RAFALE BLANCHE. From January 28th to February 5th, the 5 CMBG will train in winter warfare.

Colonel Dany Fortin, Commander of 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Valcartier, Québec clearly affirmed that:

“Over the past ten years, the Canadian military mission to Afghanistan has taken centre stage. It is important to remember, however, that one of our priorities has always been to maintain a state of readiness to protect Canadians and Canadian national interests at home. Such readiness, of course, depends upon rigorous training, and that is what is currently being provided through RAFALE BLANCHE.”