Winter Warfare Training

RMR soldiers pause while on patrol. Photo credit: Corporal Yeung.

Article written by Private Triston Alexander, “B” Coy, RMR

During the weekend of November 22nd to 24th, RMR soldiers participated in GPE 2 in Valcartier. With temperatures much below freezing and over a foot of snow on the ground, it was the RMR’s first winter warfare exercise during this training year, and was also the first winter warfare exercise for all the newly qualified privates.

Reveille was at 05h00 on Saturday when we prepped our weapons and kit for a company level raid with RMR’s platoon assaulting a vehicle checkpoint on a bridge. At 06h30, we loaded up onto the MSVS and were dropped off within 5 km of our objective. We soon realized that we needed to adjust our camouflage to match the snowy, yet forested terrain. From there, we ran through rehearsals for the raid, received ammunition (blank rounds), created map models, and received our orders.

RMR soldiers practicing their fieldcraft. Photo credit: Corporal Yeung.

With some downtime before the raid, section commanders began to run their sections through the fundamentals of winter warfare, such as the importance of keeping warm and dry, staying hydrated, and, most importantly, the maintenance of our weapons. Setting up the 10-man tents and tent routine were also practiced, which would prove to come in handy later that evening when it was finally time to occupy the hide.

Step off to the objective was at 14h30; we rucked up and began to make our way to the objective. We traveled by road at first but soon found ourselves moving through thick, unfavorable terrain to avoid being spotted by the enemy. As we approached our objective, we did a listening halt, which, although it only lasted a couple of minutes, felt like an eternity due to the freezing yet humid climate. After rucking for over 3 hours through snow and ice, we finally arrived at the objective rendez-vous (ORV) point. It was at this point that the platoon commander stepped off to conduct a leaders’ recce with his section commanders and security elements, leaving the remainder of the platoon to occupy the ORV in anticipation for the upcoming raid. With the return of the leaders’ recce, we left the ORV, leaving behind a security element to secure the position.

RMR soldiers in their ORV. Photo credit: Corporal Yeung.

With a few minutes remaining until H-hour, all of the elements were in position, waiting for the support element to initiate contact with the enemy. Suddenly, all machine guns on the firebase opened up, giving the assault element the opportunity to approach the objective under cover of fire. During the assault, the platoon IC and section commanders quickly saw that we were too many soldiers for the narrow objective, and quickly adjusted to minimize friendly casualties. Once the objective was taken, we took up defensive positions and secured the position while the remainder of the company (BlackWatch, 4th, and 6th Battalion Royal 22e Régiment) secured their objectives.

With the raid done, we rucked to the location of the Company hide where we set up our tents and received instructions for the next day. By 05h00 the next morning, we were all set up for a stand-to in anticipation of an enemy attack. By 6h30, all our gear was packed, and we were on our way to the field kitchen for a nice, warm breakfast. This marked the end ex and we carried out post exercise drills, which involved cleaning of sectors and weapons, and an overall AAR of the exercise. The weekend ended in the Junior Ranks’ mess with some well deserved pizza, donuts, and drinks.

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