Author Topic: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training  (Read 8384 times)

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Offline meni0n

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2019, 19:44:53 »
From reading some of the comments on reddit, it would seem that they were all prepped for a bug out in their vehicles given they're an armoured regiment and this was an IRU bug out. The bde cmd gave them a last minute order to leave the vehicles and do the 12 km march. Probably in the haste of getting all the kit out of the vehicles and prepping the tobogans a few things were overlooked, forgotten etc, and this is how you end up with so many casualties.

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2019, 21:10:34 »
I'm reminded of the Ghanaian kids on Phase 2 at Gagetown in January - every stitch of clothing on, coddled in the cabs of the Deuces, and still suffering from hypothermia.

No frames of reference.

There was some discussion of a possible link between ethnicity and cold weather injuries,

African-born soldier sues army for cold weather injuries

Abdoulie Bojang says his ethnicity made him more vulnerable to being affected by the extreme weather
http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/african-born-soldier-sues-army-cold-weather-injuries

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2019, 21:22:53 »
From reading some of the comments on reddit, it would seem that they were all prepped for a bug out in their vehicles given they're an armoured regiment and this was an IRU bug out. The bde cmd gave them a last minute order to leave the vehicles and do the 12 km march. Probably in the haste of getting all the kit out of the vehicles and prepping the tobogans a few things were overlooked, forgotten etc, and this is how you end up with so many casualties.

I'd be dressed pretty differently for a mounted gig compared to dismounted one.  Sweat = uh oh.  Hell, if the Bravo 2-0 story is true, one of them tabbed with their heavy layers on and suffered for it.
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2019, 21:50:29 »
I'd be dressed pretty differently for a mounted gig compared to dismounted one.  Sweat = uh oh.  Hell, if the Bravo 2-0 story is true, one of them tabbed with their heavy layers on and suffered for it.

I recall being in the tobogan traces at -30c, stripped from the waist up down to my long underwear top/wool shirt, trigger mitts and balaclava and being quite comfortable. As soon as we stopped, my parka would come on for the halt. It is all about being quick on adding/removing layering.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 21:53:30 by SeaKingTacco »

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2019, 23:31:24 »
Those of you who may know mikeninercharlie, he can attest to a certain Ex Rapier Thrust in '81 or '82 when guys were dropping like flies from all the units in the brigade due to cold injuries.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2019, 23:50:32 »
Those of you who may know mikeninercharlie, he can attest to a certain Ex Rapier Thrust in '81 or '82 when guys were dropping like flies from all the units in the brigade due to cold injuries.
I remember Raping and Thrusting 82. It was about minus one billion. Not fun.
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Offline ballz

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2019, 00:12:11 »
I guess now would be a real inopportune time for the CA to have to answer questions about its mukluks, fleece, and cold weather glove shortages... :dunno:
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2019, 00:16:59 »
I guess now would be a real inopportune time for the CA to have to answer questions about its mukluks, fleece, and cold weather glove shortages... :dunno:
A few years ago, 2012 I think, the Div Comd visited Minto Armories. He and his entourage were quite taken aback when I informed him that our 10 man tents were in poor repair and it seems new ones were not forthcoming. Our Bde G4 was rattling the bushes to find us new ones already.
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Offline AbdullahD

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2019, 00:34:38 »
A few years ago, 2012 I think, the Div Comd visited Minto Armories. He and his entourage were quite taken aback when I informed him that our 10 man tents were in poor repair and it seems new ones were not forthcoming. Our Bde G4 was rattling the bushes to find us new ones already.

(Rant)Ok, I am kind of getting ticked at this thread and episode. First I was kind of laughing, "Haha these idiots can't survive in the cold", then I was puzzled.. "how did this actually happen"... Now I am genuinely curious, if the story of an vehicle bug out turn hiking bug out drill. With lack of proper training, gear etc turned bad is true...

Tents, how in the world is it that we are failing in tents. I get it we are under funded, we are under manned etc, we as a nation need to address this... but why or how are we planning training exercises with inadequate equipment and/or training.

Or am I missing something?(/end rant)
Sorry I just needed to vent that out, it is an embarrassment.

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Offline JesseWZ

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2019, 00:52:06 »
I think we fail in far more then just tents... for an army that operates North of 49, we have procurement issues with a host of cold weather related items...
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Offline CTD

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2019, 02:34:27 »
I am not sure how a situation like this happened. Simply put, the Canadian Forces have some really good cold weather gear. People will complain about any kit no matter what.
You should be able to survive with basic issue of kit as long as you use it properly.
To me reading articles that Soldiers do not know how to use or make range cards, then read an article that they are suffering frost bite tells me one basic thing. A total of LEADERSHIP. (or nowadays is it management/ supervisory skills) either way the leaders failed.
It seems like the Leaders need to get back to the basics, and they need to learn from the top down. If their troops were not prepared for march, then their leaers hsould have spoke up and ensured there Troops were properly turned out before setting foot.

Using the excuse they were mounted, then at the last minute dismounted does not hold hold any water. If your in mounted Ops in the winter then you should be prepared incase your ride breaks down and you have to hoof it out.
I shake my head.

Sometimes crap happens, but this seems more like a wet one ran down the leg and they ignored it.

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2019, 09:06:02 »
Perhaps we can be a little less eager to hang the leaders; after all, we wern't there. You can take all the necessary precautions, but you still can't prevent people from doing stupid stuff. If you could, I'd be out of work.
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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2019, 09:12:01 »
Perhaps we can be a little less eager to hang the leaders; after all, we wern't there. You can take all the necessary precautions, but you still can't prevent people from doing stupid stuff. If you could, I'd be out of work.

Off on their own yes, but thats why we have leaders, to prevent people from doing stupid stuff, otherwise why even have leaders?
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #38 on: January 29, 2019, 09:29:04 »
Off on their own yes, but thats why we have leaders, to prevent people from doing stupid stuff, otherwise why even have leaders?
     :nod: !

I've had Sgts tell me I was doing stupid stuff;  on occasion, some even raised their voices.  Yet somehow, my feelings weren't hurt.  Different times, I guess.  :dunno:


(In hindsight, I imagine some folks wish the NCOs had kept quiet and just let Darwinism do its thing  ;) )


Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #39 on: January 29, 2019, 10:48:48 »
The Winter warfare/survival "course" is, in my opinion, like the basic Machinegun/support weapons course.

Very minimal information gets passed on about very basic stuff, and we're always taking away material and course time-not adding to it

Alot of the stuff you need to know isn't in the lesson plans but rather passed down through experience.

If privates and corporals aren't taught this stuff then they can't teach and speak to it when they're mcpls and sgts.

There's alot of skill fade and it's because units are too busy trying to cram too much crap into training cycles. Whitespace and budget play a big part, like, your unit only being given a day to do toboggan/tent routine training (and troops have to brown bag their lunch because we can't afford to issue rations).

For the most part winter equipment is fine and in areas improved considerably over the last 20 years-but lessons learned are struggling to survive.

I don't know the story, I have some suspicions on what happened, but I can honestly say the Dragoons are one of the busiest units I know and I can very easily believe basic winter warfare skills get overlooked because they're trying to fill so many no fail tasks.
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Offline medicineman

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #40 on: January 29, 2019, 11:17:26 »
It would be interesting to see the injury patterns .  Hands and fingers - likely not getting gloves/mitts back on quickly OR wearing gloves instead of mittens, since mittens keep your fingers warmer.  Some people think wearing mittens isn't very "cool"/hard - obviously also don't live or work in cold conditions usually.  Feet - likely not wearing mukluks, not wearing them properly or not changing socks and warming feet when they should.  Face - not wearing balaclava's, face shields, etc.

Where the injuries are often is telling of where the problem is - faces/feet - usually leaders/medics/buddies not looking out for each other, since it's simple to say "Show me our face" or "Look at me" on the march or on breaks, making sure people are warming themselves or changing socks periodically at breaks in the march or during camp routine.  Hands - usually individual soldiers thinking they look dumb wearing mittens...though it can be argued that leaders need to pull those people aside and tell them that mitts are more appropriate for many/most situations and why.  Higher risk in smokers as well, as smoking affects microcirculation to fingies and toesies and elsewhere...besides the obvious bit where they need to hold the cigarette somehow.  There are of course the occasional freezer burn injuries to exposed backsides on the little blue toilet rings, made worse by getting stuck  8).

:2c:

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Offline Haggis

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #41 on: January 29, 2019, 12:22:25 »
It would be interesting to see the injury patterns .  Hands and fingers - likely not getting gloves/mitts back on quickly OR wearing gloves instead of mittens, since mittens keep your fingers warmer.  Some people think wearing mittens isn't very "cool"/hard - obviously also don't live or work in cold conditions usually.

Not being able to manipulate your weapon as easily in mitts will make people shy away from wearing them. Often they will wear gloves which are ideally suited for dexterity but offer little to no insulation.

Feet - likely not wearing mukluks, not wearing them properly or not changing socks and warming feet when they should.

Was there not a prohibition on driving in mukluks a few years ago? This could have been a contributing factor to armoured troops footwear selection for this activity.

There are of course the occasional freezer burn injuries to exposed backsides on the little blue toilet rings, made worse by getting stuck.

Easily prevented by placing a layer or two of TP over the ring before sitting down.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #42 on: January 29, 2019, 12:38:45 »
Quote from: Haggis


Easily prevented by placing a layer or two of TP over the ring before sitting down.

Remember all the weekend trips we took to Petawawa in the winter? I used to eat a block of st-Albert's cheese on the way there  to avoid those frozen seats.

One time the cheese had the reverse effect--some (life) lessons aren't learned  in lesson plans   ;D
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:41:39 by Jarnhamar »
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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2019, 17:15:33 »
Not being able to manipulate your weapon as easily in mitts will make people shy away from wearing them. Often they will wear gloves which are ideally suited for dexterity but offer little to no insulation.

Was there not a prohibition on driving in mukluks a few years ago? This could have been a contributing factor to armoured troops footwear selection for this activity.

Easily prevented by placing a layer or two of TP over the ring before sitting down.


I have never heard of a prohibition on driving in mukluks - and I've only been out for a year and a half.  Having said that, nothing surprises me much, though I'd have thought that a prohibition on parachuting in them would have come first...given I had a harder time driving with upsoled combat boots than I ever did with mukuks really makes me wonder why that would happen.  For weapon handling and other dexterity things, I get that, but there are arctic trigger guards and shooting mitts and the charging handles have been changed such that you don't need to do the split finger grasp to **** the C7/8's.  Arctic mitts have room in them to wear a glove liner - get your hand out and then back in as soon as job is done.  I will confess that my last couple years of reserve time I used my Cabellas hunting mitts a lot - built in gloves, finger cover flips back to expose the gloved fingies, then flip back to warm them up.   The bumburn issue was largely a joke on my part...

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Offline Haggis

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #44 on: January 29, 2019, 17:59:09 »
I have never heard of a prohibition on driving in mukluks - and I've only been out for a year and a half.
  I recall seeing something ... I retired in December so I can't research it any longer.  Hopefully someone with DWAN access will chime in and set me straight.

For weapon handling and other dexterity things, I get that, but there are arctic trigger guards and shooting mitts and the charging handles have been changed such that you don't need to do the split finger grasp to **** the C7/8's.  Arctic mitts have room in them to wear a glove liner - get your hand out and then back in as soon as job is done. 
Yup, got that, but how many troops actually make the effort to set up their rifle/carbine trigger guard correctly for arctic ops with mitts?  Or will they just wear LCF gloves?

The bumburn issue was largely a joke on my part...

Okay.. but my idea worked/works well.
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Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2019, 18:28:46 »
I recall seeing something ... I retired in December so I can't research it any longer.  Hopefully someone with DWAN access will chime in and set me straight.

I remember sometime similar being said mid 2000s into early 2010s. I didn't bother checking into it because I drove in them anyways.

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2019, 18:28:51 »
In Shilo and Gagetown the ranges used to close at -35'C without wind chill.  When I was part of the schools in those locations we still went to the field a lot but not always overnight.
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2019, 18:59:55 »

I have never heard of a prohibition on driving in mukluks - . . .    The bumburn issue was largely a joke on my part...


Back when the Earth was still cooling (I think it was sometime in the late 1970s) when one dug a hole, large or small depending on quantity, to accommodate human waste during exercises, there was occasion that a small US Army contingent was with us in Wainwright when the weather was appropriate for "winter warfare".  One of the items of comfort gear that they had with them was an all metal, collapsible, portable camping toilet.  While this may have benefits of durability and ease of cleaning it definitely was not ideal when the temp dipped below freezing.  There was more than one Southern gentleman who, unaccustomed to the weather, found himself stuck to the seat.

As for driving in mukluks, I recall a time (also long ago, it might have even been during that Rapier Thrust previously mentioned) when direction came down that drivers had to wear full winter gear (mukluks, parkas, etc) even when behind the wheel.  On a couple of previous exercises (including a 1 Fd Amb winter ex in Wainwright) there had been some casualties that resulted following vehicle breakdown/accident when the crew/occupants were left stranded for prolonged periods without adequate cold weather gear.
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Offline Haggis

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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2019, 19:25:55 »
I remember sometime similar being said mid 2000s into early 2010s. I didn't bother checking into it because I drove in them anyways.

My memory is kinda fuzzy on it.  the restriction may have been vehicle specific.. I recall something to do with insufficient clearance between the brake and accelerator pedals making it possible to press both while wearing mukluks. Or maybe it was boots, rubber, clumsy.  Like I said..... fuzzy.
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Re: Canadian soldiers suffer frostbite during winter training
« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2019, 19:55:49 »
Anyone who ever drove an M 113 with a dodgy heater across the Wainwright tundra in January would joyfully tell you to go take a flying frig at a rolling bagel if you said he couldn't wear his mukluks.
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